US President Donald Trump was taken aback in an interview on Tuesday, July 14, when he was asked why African-Americans are being killed by the police in reference to the recent killing of African-American George Floyd.
"And so are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people," Trump told CBS's, Catherine Herridge. "More white people, by the way. More white people."
President Trump's comment drew sharp criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union's Jeffery Robinson. "Trump's statement Not only ignores the fact that per capita Black and Brown people are disproportionately killed by police, but it also provides the foundation for the dangerous and unconstitutional police practices that result in the deaths of Black people with regularity," Robinson said.
He accused Trump of "using the violence and suffering perpetrated against Black communities as a white-supremacist dog whistle ahead of the coming election. Robinson also alleged that Trump's racism is so absolute that he continues to refuse to give even a tacit acknowledgement to the epidemic of police violence against Black people in America.
A 2016 study by The Guardian revealed that the rate of fatal shootings by police per million people was the highest for the Native American (10.13) and Black (6.6) racial groups. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health from 2018, the mortality rate by police for black men was much higher (1.9-2.4 per 1 lakh people) compared to 0.6-0.7 for white men.
The experiences of African Americans murdered by mob violence for several generations between Emancipation and the struggle for civil rights have now laid the groundwork for the kind of inequality, injustice and brutality that people like George Floyd face today.
Trump, in the interview, also defended the use of the Confederate flag, although in 2015 he had said that the flag belongs in a museum.
"All I say is freedom of speech. It is very simple. My attitude is freedom of speech," Trump responded. "Very simple. Like it, do not like it, it is freedom of speech."
When asked if he understood that the flag is a reminder of slavery and therefore a painful symbol to many, Trump said, "Some people love it, and I know people that like the Confederate flag and they are not thinking about slavery."
In a second interview with the conservative Townhall Media, Trump went on to defend the white St Louis couple captured on video brandishing guns, reportedly defending their home during a protest against racial discrimination, News18 reported.
Trump claimed that Mark and Patricia McCloskey "were going to be beat up badly if they were lucky" and said their house would have been "totally ransacked and probably burned down" had they not been out there. "And now I understand somebody local, they want to prosecute these people. It is a disgrace," he said.
President Trump has been under fire for his response during the anti-racism protests that overwhelmed the nation after the killing of George Floyd, as he leaned in on a law-and-order message, painting protesters as domestic "terrorists", instead of acknowledging the demands of justice and equality.
Also Read: George Floyd's Killing: Years Of Racial Violence Perpetrated With Impunity Laid Groundwork For Today's Injustice